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Nov 15, 2017

Gimme Shelter - Another Weekend Project!

One of my least favourite things about the winter months is coming outside to an icy/snow-covered vehicle in the morning. We don't have a garage yet - someday! someday! - so instead we put up a quonset style shelter. We did have a shelter during our first two winters here, but a fierce windstorm last year tore the cover to shreds and just left the frame.

Vehicle shelter

The first step this year was to remove the old frame. Once it was unbolted from the concrete, Tom strapped it to the lawn tractor and backed up into the driveway. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Imagine seeing a shelter frame going past the the window.

Vehicle shelter

But it worked like a charm. He then lifted the front to guide it and had me "drive" the shelter to the back of the property. You can't make this stuff up.


The previous shelter had been screwed directly into the concrete pad, but it was really hard work. This time, Tom laid down a framework of 2x4s first. He attached the wood to the concrete pad using the Ramset air tool, then the shelter frame was screwed into the wood.

Vehicle shelter ramset
Vehicle shelter

The shelter framework is made up of u-shaped powder-coated steel tubes that form the walls and roof, and 3 horizontal steel tubes that connect the curved uprights together.

Vehicle shelter

Once the frame was connected and screwed down to the 2x4 base, the end flaps were installed. Tom did this by himself and it involved a bit of back and forth - raising up one side, then the other, then back to the first, etc. - until the fabric was up over the frame. The flap has a strap that runs through a pocket from one side to the other and is tightened down to the frame with ratchets at each end.

Vehicle shelter

With the ends in place, he had me come out to help with the main cover because it's huge. I'm sure you could do it by yourself, but it would take a great deal of time, having to pull up a section, then tie it in place so you could move to another section without the first one falling back down. No one needs that kind of frustration if they can avoid it.

There are lengths of steel tubing that slide into pockets at the bottom (side) edge of the cover. These are attached to the framework once it's in place, to hold the cover down tight to the frame.

Vehicle shelter

Tom threw lengths of rope over the framework and tied one end of each to the pipes on the cover so that we could pull the cover up and over.

Vehicle shelter

Except the pipes kept sliding out of the pockets when you pulled on an end. The solution? He zip-tied each pipe to the one beside it so that it had nowhere to go.

Vehicle shelter

We worked our way back and forth, pulling the cover up and over a bit at a time. I would hold one or more ropes in place while he pulled on the others. Once it's over the top and gravity isn't working against you, it's easy to pull it all the way down into place and remove the ropes and zip ties.
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Vehicle shelter
Vehicle shelter

The  horizontal pipes in the pockets are attached to the framework with connectors that clamp on at each intersection of pipe. Tom then went around and tightened down all of the screws on the frame.

Vehicle shelter
Vehicle shelter

The cover still has to be connected to the front and back of the shelter. We pulled the fabric tight over the end flaps and ratcheted it down in the same way as the flaps.

Vehicle shelter

The final step is feeding a pipe through a pocket on the flap at the front. The pipe keeps even tension on the flap when you're rolling it up and down.

Vehicle shelter

And here's my baby all tucked away cozy for the night. I love not having to clean my car off in the morning after a snowfall - because you know I'm always running late and don't have time for that.

Vehicle shelter








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